While cleaning out the shop a couple weeks ago we stumbled on a plastic-wrapped parcel of tools that were owned by the maintenance men from our old building. When they were “released on their own recognizance” by management, they gave us their old tools, including a lot of good Snap-On stuff and the gizmos wrapped in plastic that I fished from our rolling tool cabinet.
They were spring-loaded nailsets and centerpunches, like the ones made by Spring Tools. They look like a metal earthworm with an industrial Slinky for a body. These things are used to set nails. You place the tip of the tool on your nail’s head, pull the spring back and let go. A small anvil in the spring strikes the head of the tool and drives the nail flush.
Senior Editor Robert W. Lang joked that using those tools was akin to showing up on a jobsite in a sundress.
Because I don’t much care for televised sports, strip clubs or shooting animals, my manhood is already in trouble. Some might call me the Liberace of the Ozarks. So I quietly put the tools in my box. Until today.
I was setting a bunch of cut nails on a box I’m building and unwrapped the plastic parcel. I took out one of the spring-loaded tools and gave it a try. Well holy Laura Ashley, the tool leaped off the nail and put a huge divot in the wood (luckily it’s on the bottom).
So I took a file out and shaped the steel head of the tool until it was flat and rectangular, like the heads of my cut nails. Then the tool worked much better. I’m not yet sure, however, if it’s faster than the old hammer-powered method.
Perhaps it’s like learning to walk in heels. Not that I know anything about that.
— Christopher Schwarz